Public Hearing Planned For PNM Rate Hike Request

New Mexico – New Mexico regulators are set to consider a proposal that would mean higher rates for the state's largest electric utility's 500,000 customers.

Public Service Company of New Mexico will present its case Monday to the Public Regulation Commission in Santa Fe.

Consumer advocacy groups and environmentalists say the utility hasn't justified the need for a rate increase. They also argue that higher monthly electric bills would hurt customers who are barely getting by.

PNM is asking regulators for the increase mainly to recoup investments made in infrastructure to ensure reliability of its hundreds of miles of transmission lines and power generating stations.

The rate hike would average nearly 11 percent for residential and business customers. That could mean another $6 to $7 a month for average residential customers next year when the phased-in increase would be complete.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.